THE Bendigo Jockey Club has ushered in an exciting new era with the announcement of a new major partner and sponsor of its marquee race.
Bendigo-based Apiam Animal Health has become the naming rights sponsor of the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m), last year worth $400,000 in prizemoney.
The Australian Stock Exchange-listed company has been a long-time supporter and sponsor of the club, but has only now stepped up to be its major partner.
Apiam Animal Health has assumed a leading role in ensuring new hygiene practices implemented at the Bendigo racecourse are at an 'industry-best' standard, as the club prepares to welcome thoroughbred owners back to the track on July 3, for the first time since a ban on spectators was implemented in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The BJC has been utilising Apiam's Zoono branded products to disinfect public areas at the track, including officials' areas, the jockeys' room and horse facilities, before each race meeting, while its hand sanitiser has become a staple at various points around the racetrack.
BJC chief executive officer Aaron Hearps and Apiam Animal Health managing director Dr Chris Richards both confidently declared Bendigo racecourse to be the 'safest in Australia'.
Ahead of the staged return of owners to Victorian racetracks, Hearps said it was vital that all areas of the Bendigo course that were accessed by members of the public and officials were thoroughly and effectively cleaned so that the public-initially, owners-could be confident of safely attending races.
"Allowing owners back on course is the first step in what we expect will be a gradual and welcome return of the wider public to the racecourse," he said.
"We want to make sure that people feel safe. We will be implementing a cleaning regime which we think will make us the cleanest, safest racecourse in Australia."
Hearps said under the new deal, Apiam Animal Health would sponsor the Bendigo Cup for the next two years.
"It's great that a Bendigo business is supporting another Bendigo business - it's a great mutually beneficial partnership," he said.
"We have had Jayco for the previous 11 years and they were unable to continue the relationship, and Apiam has always expressed an interest in rejoining the club.
"They have a good strong history of partnering the club. Apiam has diversified their businesses and have now got a disinfectant and sanitising range which we have been able to utilise on course since April and we will continue to do so."
Hearps confirmed negotiations were ongoing with Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria over prizemoney for this year's cup, which will be run on Wednesday, October 28.
Dr Richards said he was proud to see two Bendigo businesses supporting each other.
"Apiam has a long association with the Bendigo Jockey Club and when this opportunity arose, we jumped at the opportunity to provide additional support to the jockey club," he said.
Locals helping locals during COVID-19
Apiam Animal Health says it's pleased to help protect the Bendigo racecourse from COVID-19.
"Disinfecting a racecourse is clearly a big job, so having an effective disinfectant that can be quickly deployed at an affordable price is essential," said managing director Dr Chris Richards.
"Since March this year, Apiam has been using Z-71 Microbe Shield to protect its own employees and clients at its Furlife Vet and Apiam equine veterinary centres throughout the country.
"In the racing industry, it can be used prior to every race meeting and in all racing stables to improve the biosecurity programs for the trainers and their employees.
"It will also reduce the bacteria and other germs that occur in racing stables and create a healthier environment for the animals."
The Zoono disinfectant is deployed via a machine that sprays a 'fog' (a fine mist) that settles on all surfaces in areas requiring cleaning.
Using about 30-litres of product, it takes two staff only 45 minutes to cover the horse stalls, urinal box, sand rolls, jockeys' rooms, scales areas, caller and judges' boxes and public areas at the Bendigo track.
While the Zoono product has proven to be effective for up to 30 days, the racecourse will be disinfected prior to all meetings, which are held, on average, every fortnight.
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